Night’s Plutonian Shore – My Pagan Path

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About 5 years ago I was asked to be the Pagan perspective on an interfaith “ezine” called Pangaea Revisited. The ezine series has since ended, but I loved the format that each edition’s questions came in, so to put that info back out to a new audience, I’ll be reposting my articles here over the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy.

Pangaea Revisited – RavenHarte’s View of the Pagan Path

Terminology we should know?
I actually have a page on my website that has all the terminology I use which might be “foreign” to others. I’ll try to be sure to think of that in my answers, but in case I use a word that you would want to have my own description for, and I don’t clarify it, here’s the website page http://www.clanncaladvwlch.com/ListOfTerms.html

What most attracts you to your chosen path?
I was attracted to the Pagan path during my original search for spiritually by the feminine aspect of Divinity. However I have continued walking this path for the past 20 yrs because of the freedom it affords me to examine my own ideas of the Divine and spirituality, without the dogmas and doctrines of others limiting my view.

What is the goal of your spiritual practice? Do you consider this the goal of life?
The goal of my spiritual practice is to continually find new ways of consciously evolving my own soul, while staying connected with the Divine within and without. I consider this goal to be the purpose of my soul’s journey, but I believe my goal in this life is to “Know Thyself”, by experiencing my humanity as fully as possible by living life authentically, learning from every part of it, and then passing on what I have learned to facilitate the process for others.

What is the predominant spiritual practice you use right now in your life and how do you see it benefiting yourself and your interactions with others?
The predominant spiritual practice I use is ritual. Unlike mantras, meditation, or prayers, ritual is a spiritual practice which is most often shared with others; and by that Sharing it inevitably becomes something more than it would be performed by me alone.  Even when I have written the ritual myself, so have visualized it in my own mind, it becomes more rich and alive when it is enacted with others. The emotions, expressions and Experiences of each person within the rite change it, and give it body, which benefits us all By our shared experience of the Mystery we are personifying. It also benefits us by providing us with a common ground for the exploration of our experiences of the Divine, which vary not only from person to person, but ritual to ritual.

What is the teaching or story from your tradition that has had the greatest impact on how you live your life?
The Pagan path I walk is the Western Mystery tradition, specifically Celtic Arthurian, so the stories that have had the greatest impact on the way I live my life have come from the many variations of the Arthurian legend now available. Specifically, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s book “The Mists of Avalon” was the most influential in my seeking the spiritual path of the Priestess, though I have always had a warrior’s spirit. It showed me that one can be, and often has to be, both Priest and Warrior.

In general, the Arthurian stories that have impacted the way I live my life all have to do with the codes of chivalry and honor. “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” in particular stands out for me because it is in this story that you finally get the sense that Camelot, and the way the court at Camelot functions, is an ideal and not a reality, even in their own world. It is something separate and apart.  The Green Knight and Bertilak’s castle both represent a more earth-based idea of what chivalry and honor entail. They show the reader, through Gawain’s realizations, responses and actions, that yes it is important to have ideals and to strive for them, but that the mortal world has challenges and perils which we can only face with honor when we are fully cognizant of our own faults and weaknesses, and thereby achieve humility.

What is the ultimate expression of the highest teaching of your tradition?
Paganism encompasses many different spiritualties, from many different cultures, so there is no one “highest teaching” which can be said to stand for all, therefore no one ultimate expression. As a practitioner of a Western Mystery tradition however, I think one of the highest teachings I constantly remind myself of comes from The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, which is  “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing.” Most people would know this statement better as “As Above So Below”. For me this statement means many things, however in the context of an ultimate expression I would have to say it reminds me of my belief that the Divine is within me as well as outside of me, part of my microcosm and the macrocosm as a whole.

So the ultimate expressions for me would be the creation of a ritual circle and Drawing Down the Moon. The ritual circle expresses the Hermetic axiom because it is a Divine space created from our mundane space, which was ultimately a Divine space anyway. Drawing Down the Moon is a ritual magic practice by which a Priestess connects her conscious mind with the energy within herself and all around her that is the Divine Feminine, then aligns that energy and alters her consciousness until she IS that ultimate expression of Divine Feminine in that moment. She is then both human female, and Divine feminine. Drawing In the Sun is the practice a Priest would use to achieve the same goal.

As Robert Heinlein says in “Stranger in a Strange Land”: “Thou art God, and I am God, and all that groks is God.

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